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Urban Transit Systems and Technology

DOI: 10.1002/9780470168066.fmatter





Vukan Vuchic
University of Pennsylvania

Available from: Vukan Vuchic

Retrieved on: 13 March 2016


Urban Transit Systems and Technology. Vukan R. Vuchic

Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Inc. ISBN: 978-0-471-75823-5

Vukan R. Vuchic


This book is printed on acid-free paper.

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data:
Vuchic, Vukan R.
Urban transit systems and technology / by Vukan Vuchic.
p. cm.
ISBN 978-0-471-75823-5
1. Urban transportationUnited StatesPlanning. 2. Local transitUnited StatesPlanning.
3. Transportation engineeringUnited States. I. Title.
HE308.V834 2007
Printed in the United States of America

To my Rada, who has been my intellectual partner and

supported my professional and academic work
ever since we rst met in Belgrade in 1957.

Preface, xiii
Acknowledgments, xv

1.5.2 Electric Interurban Railways, 35

1.5.3 Rapid Transit/Metro, 37
1.6 Overview and Conclusions: Transit
Development and Cities, 39

1.1 Early Development of Cities, 1

1.1.1 Transportation and Locations of
Cities, 1
1.1.2 Transportation and City Size, 2
1.1.3 Form and Structure of Cities, 3
1.1.4 The Industrial Revolution, Urbanization,
and the Growth of Cities, 5
1.2 Beginnings of Public Transportation, 8
1.2.1 Public Transportation before the
Nineteenth Century, 8
1.2.2 Horse-Drawn Omnibuses, 9
1.2.3 Horse-Drawn Tramways, 10
1.2.4 Mechanized Street Transit Technologies
before 1880, 11
1.3 Invention of Electric Streetcars/Tramways, 14
1.3.1 Beginnings of Electric Streetcars in the
United States, 15
1.3.2 Introduction of Electric Tramways in
Europe, 17
1.4 Street Transit Development since 1900, 19
1.4.1 Streetcars/Tramways, 19
1.4.2 Motorbuses, 25
1.4.3 Trolleybuses, 29
1.5 Development of High-Speed Rail Transit
Modes, 33
1.5.1 Suburban Railways/Regional Rail, 33



2.1 Transport System Denitions and

Classication, 45
2.1.1 Classication by Type of Usage, 45
2.1.2 Transit Modes, 47
2.1.3 Transit System Components, 53
2.1.4 Transit System Operations, Service, and
Characteristics, 53
2.2 Theory of Urban Passenger Transport
Modes, 55
2.2.1 Evolution of a Transportation System in
a Model Urban Area, 55
2.2.2 Review of Modal Features, 64
2.3 The Family of Transit Modes: Categories and
Descriptions, 66
2.3.1 Paratransit, 66
2.3.2 Street Transit Modes, 67
2.3.3 Medium-Capacity Modes: Semirapid
Transit, 68
2.3.4 High-Performance Modes: Rapid
Transit, 71
2.3.5 Specialized Transit Modes, 73
2.3.6 Review of the Family of Regular Transit
Modes, 73
2.3.7 Commuter Transit, 81
2.4 Trends in Transit Ridership and in Use of
Different Modes, 81



2.4.1 Urban Travel and Transit Ridership, 82

2.4.2 Increasing Diversity of Transit
Modes, 86


3.1 Vehicle Motion, 91

3.2 Resistance to Motion, 93
3.2.1 Vehicle Resistance, 93
3.2.2 Alignment Resistance, 95
3.3 Internal Combustion Engine Propulsion, 97
3.3.1 Characteristic Diagram for ICEs, 97
3.3.2 Speed-Tractive Effort Diagram:
TE f(V), 98
3.3.3 Vehicle Motion Force as a Function of
Speed, 100
3.4 Electric Propulsion, 100
3.4.1 Wayside Electric Power Supply and Its
Distribution to Lines, 101
3.4.2 Propulsion Motors and Their
Control, 101
3.4.3 Electronic Motor Control, 108
3.4.4 AC Propulsion Motors and Their
Electronic Control, 108
3.4.5 Comparison of Motor Control
Types, 110
3.4.6 Other Propulsion Systems, 112
3.4.7 Vehicle Acceleration Force, 113
3.4.8 Comparison of Electric and Diesel
Propulsions, 114
3.5 Vehicle Acceleration, Braking, and Stopping
Distances, 115
3.5.1 Adhesion for Wheel Traction, 115
3.5.2 Acceleration and Braking Forces and
Distances, 119
3.6 Station-to-Station Travel Analysis, 120
3.6.1 Basic Variables of Vehicle Motion, 121
3.6.2 Regimes of Motion, 122
3.6.3 Travel Time Equations and
Diagrams, 124
3.6.4 Sensitivity of Travel Time and Speed to
Individual Parameters, 130

3.7 Energy Consumption and Efciency, 134

3.7.1 Structure of Energy Consumption
Analysis, 135
3.7.2 Inuence of Operating Regimes, 136
3.7.3 Potential Energy Savings through
Preprogrammed Driving, 138
3.7.4 Inuence of Stop/Station Spacing, 139
3.7.5 Measures of Energy Consumption, 139
4.1 Denitions of Quantitative Performance
Attributes, 149
4.1.1 Basic Attributes, 149
4.1.2 Transportation Work and
Productivity, 151
4.1.3 Transit System Efciency and
Productivity, 152
4.1.4 Consumption and Utilization, 153
4.2 Transit Line Capacity, 153
4.2.1 Denitions, 153
4.2.2 Vehicle Capacity, 156
4.3 Way Capacity, 160
4.3.1 Basic Elements, 161
4.3.2 Vehicle Control Categories in Transit
Operation, 163
4.3.3 Operating Safety Regimes, 165
4.3.4 Impacts of Train Size and Control
Characteristics, 169
4.3.5 Application of Equations to Different
Modes, 173
4.4 Station Capacity, 175
4.4.1 Signicance and Denitions, 175
4.4.2 Components and Inuencing
Factors, 177
4.4.3 Capacity Diagrams and Equations, 178
4.4.4 Measures to Increase Station
Capacity, 181
4.5 Theoretical and Practical Capacities of Major
Transit Modes, 186



4.5.1 Important Considerations in Capacity

Computations, 186
4.5.2 Review of Theoretical Capacities, 188
4.5.3 Actual Capacities of Major Transit
Modes, 190
4.6 Other Quantitative Performance
Measures, 194
4.6.1 Transportation Quantity or Volume, 194
4.6.2 System and Network Performance, 195
4.6.3 Transportation Work and
Productivity, 196
4.6.4 Transit System Efciency (Productivity)
Indicators, 196
4.6.5 Consumption Rates and Utilization
Indicators, 197
5.1 Family of Highway Transit Modes, 202
5.1.1 Denitions, 202
5.1.2 General Characteristics, 203
5.1.3 Bus Transit System and Bus Rapid
Transit Concepts, 203
5.2 The Vehicles, 204
5.2.1 Classication by Propulsion
Systems, 204
5.2.2 Classication by Body Type, 210
5.2.3 Propulsion, Equipment, and
Performance, 228
5.2.4 Body Structure and Form, 231
5.2.5 Review of Bus Models, Characteristics,
and Design Trends, 236
5.3 Travel Ways, 239
5.3.1 Geometric Elements, 239
5.3.2 Operation in Mixed Trafc, 239
5.3.3 Bus Preferential Treatments, 240
5.3.4 Bus Lanes on Streets, 244
5.3.5 Bus Operations on Freeways, 250
5.3.6 Busways, 254
5.4 Bus Rapid Transit, 256
5.4.1 Denitions of Bus Transit Modes, 256
5.4.2 Evolution of BRT as a Mode, 256


Vehicles, 260
Infrastructure: Lines and Stations, 262
Operations and ITS Applications, 265
Review and Evaluation of BTS and
BRT, 265
5.5 Stops, Stations, and Maintenance
Facilities, 273
5.5.1 Bus Stops on Streets, 273
5.5.2 Stations and Terminals, 276
5.5.3 Garages, Storage Facilities, and
Maintenance Shops, 281
5.6 Operations, Performance, and Costs, 285
5.6.1 Operations and Types of Service, 285
5.6.2 Performance Characteristics, 286
5.6.3 Service Quality and System
Impacts, 287
5.6.4 Costs, 287
5.6.5 Trolleybuses: Characteristics and
Applications, 288
5.7 Present and Future Roles of Highway Transit
Modes, 289
6.1 Family of Rail Transit Modes, 297
6.1.1 General Characteristics, 297
6.1.2 Denitions and Characteristics of
Individual Rail Modes, 300
6.2 Rolling Stock, 309
6.2.1 Rail Vehicle Types and Basic
Components, 310
6.2.2 Trucks and Mechanical/Electrical
Equipment, 315
6.2.3 Vehicle Body, 322
6.2.4 Review of Characteristics of Different
Vehicle Models, 336
6.2.5 Basic Operating Units and Train
Consists, 344
6.3 Rail Transit Ways: Geometry and
Facilities, 350
6.3.1 Geometric Elements, 351






6.3.2 Track Superstructure, 354

6.3.3 Rights-of-Way, 362
Rubber-Tired Rapid Transit (RTRT), 383
6.4.1 Description of the Technology, 384
6.4.2 Characteristics and Comparison with
Rail Technology, 385
6.4.3 Potential Applications of Rubber-Tired
Rapid Transit, 387
Stops, Stations, and Yards, 388
6.5.1 At-Grade Stops, 388
6.5.2 At-Grade Transfer Stations, 389
6.5.3 Controlled-Access Stations, 390
6.5.4 Auto-Transit Interface Stations, 405
6.5.5 Rail Transit Yards and Shops, 408
Operations, Performance, and Costs, 408
6.6.1 Vehicle/Train Travel Control and
Automation, 408
6.6.2 Performance Characteristics of Rail
Modes, 421
6.6.3 Rail Transit Costs, 426
Present and Future Role of Rail Transit, 431
6.7.1 Trends and Impacts of Urban Population
and Growth of Auto Ownership, 432
6.7.2 Goals and Objectives in Building Rail
Transit Systems, 432
6.7.3 What Size City for Rapid Transit?, 434
6.7.4 Development of Rail Transit in the
United States, 436
6.7.5 Present and Future Role of Rail Transit
around the World, 437

7.1 Evaluation of Conventional Systems and
Potential for Innovations, 444
7.2 Analysis of Systems Components, 445
7.2.1 Vehicle Support, Guidance, and
Switches, 445
7.2.2 Vehicle/TU Capacity, 452
7.2.3 Dual-Mode Operations, 453
7.2.4 Fully Automatic Operation, 455
7.3 Unconventional Modes and Systems, 456


7.3.1 Automated Guided Transit and

Automated People Movers, 456
7.3.2 Monorails, 469
7.3.3 Personal Rapid Transit (PRT), 472
7.4 Evaluation of Unconventional Modes and New
Concepts, 475


8.1 Short-Haul and Shuttle Transit Systems, 477

8.1.1 Pedestrians and Pedestrian-Assisting
Systems, 477
8.1.2 Short-Haul Transit Modes, 478
8.1.3 Signicance of Short-Haul
Transportation, 481
8.1.4 Point-to-Point Shuttles and Lines, 481
8.2 Terrain-Specialized Technologies, 482
8.2.1 Rail Systems with Auxiliary
Traction, 482
8.2.2 Aerial Tramways, 490
8.3 Waterborne Transit Systems, 493
8.3.1 Types of Vessels, 493
8.3.2 Ferryboat Services, 497


9.1 Denition and Classication, 501

9.2 Modied Uses of Private Transportation, 503
9.2.1 Car Rentals, 503
9.2.2 Carpools, 503
9.3 Semipublic Paratransit, 504
9.3.1 Vanpools, 504
9.3.2 Subscription Buses, 505
9.3.3 Car Sharing, 506
9.4 Public (Regular) Paratransit, 506
9.4.1 Taxis, 506
9.4.2 Jitneys, 508
9.4.3 Dial-a-Ride and Other Hybrid-Type
Services, 513
9.5 Evaluation of Paratransit and Its Roles, 516
9.5.1 Characteristics of Paratransit, 516
9.5.2 Potential Improvements, 517
9.5.3 Present and Potential Roles of
Paratransit, 518


10.1 Basic Elements of Transit Modes, 521
10.1.1 Signicance of Right-of-Way
Categories, 521
10.1.2 Transit Systems Technology, 524
10.1.3 Interdependence of ROW and System
Technology, 528
10.1.4 Review of Technological and
Operational Features, 528
10.2 Medium-Performance Transit Modes, 532
10.2.1 Bus Rapid Transit, 532
10.2.2 Trolleybus System, 533
10.2.3 Light Rail Transit, 534
10.2.4 Automated Guided Transit
Systems, 535
10.2.5 Comparisons of Medium-Performance
Modes, 538
10.3 High-Performance Modes, 544
10.3.1 Light Rail Rapid Transit Modes, 545
10.3.2 Rail Rapid Transit/Metro, 547
10.3.3 Rubber-Tired Rapid Transit and
Monorails, 548
10.3.4 Review of Guided Modes and Their
Automation, 549
10.4 Regional Transit Modes, 550
10.4.1 Regional Buses, 551
10.4.2 Commuter Rail, 551


10.4.3 Regional Rail, 551

10.4.4 Regional Rapid Transit, 552
10.4.5 Trends in Regional Rail Transit
Development, 552
10.5 Progress and Problems in Mode
Selection, 553
10.5.1 Increased Mode Diversication, 554
10.5.2 Support for and Attacks on Public
Transit, 554
10.5.3 Campaigns against Rail Transit, 555
10.5.4 Discrepancies between Theoretical
Analyses and Real World
Systems, 556
10.5.5 Systems Approach in Mode Selection
and Intermodal Relationships, 557
10.5.6 Importance of Rational Choice of
Transit Modes, 559
Bibliography, 563
Appendix I SI and English Units and
Conversion Factors, 565
Appendix II List of Abbreviations, 572
Appendix III Denitions of Transit Systems
Terms, 575
Appendix IV Answers to Selected Exercise
Questions, 583
Index of Cities




Many cities and metropolitan areas face the problems
of chronic trafc congestion and its serious negative
side effects. They also suffer from excessive auto dependency, which reduces mobility and sustainability.
To solve these problems, cities are making efforts to
implement intermodal transportation systems that minimize negative side effects and enhance their economic
viability and quality of life. In these efforts, city governments recognize urban public transportation, popularly known as transit, as the critical element in
achieving balanced transportation system.
These trends and experiences have led to introduction of policies favorable to transit system development
and innovations. The support for urban transit provided
by federal / national and other levels of government
have played a major role in its upgrading through research and development, nancing of new systems,
new modes, and applied research for solving technical,
operational, and planning problems. Consequently, the
need for greater expertise in technology, operations,
and planning of transit systems is now more obvious
than it has ever been since the introduction of wide use
of private cars.
This authors rst book, Urban Public Transportation Systems and Technology (Prentice-Hall, 1981),
contained systematic denitions and evaluation of basic concepts in urban transportation, descriptions of
transit modes, their design and analysis. Its focus was
on engineering aspects of transit systems. That book
was followed by Transportation for Livable Cities
(Center for Urban Policy Research at Rutgers, 1999),
covering the roles of transit and its interaction with city
character and quality of life. It presented explanations
of the basic characteristics and relationships of differ-

ent modes, including pedestrians, private automobiles,

and different transit modes. His third book, completing
a sequence named Transit Trilogy, was Urban Transit Operations, Planning and Economics (Wiley 2005).
It covered a broad range of topics on transit system
operations, scheduling, lines and networks, economic
and organizational aspects, planning procedures, and
mode selection.
This book, Urban Transit Systems and Technology,
is an updated and revised version of the rst book,
focusing on systems and engineering aspects of transit.
The intent here is again to present the fundamental
classication of transit modes and their physical components, as well as descriptions of state-of-the-art transit technologies. Thus, parts of the rst book which
describe the basic elements of transit modes and their
dynamic characteristics are retained. However, all descriptions of transit systems and their operations have
been updated, including numerous developments and
innovations from the last 25 years.
To illustrate the changes during this period, in 1981
metro systems existed in 55 cities in the world; today
there are over 100. In 1981 there was only one new
light rail transit system in North America (Edmonton);
in 2006 there are more than 20. Bus rapid transit existed as a special type of bus operations in Sao Paulo
and a few other cities, while in recent years it has been
recognized as an established mode in many countries.
Automated systems have also had a strong development.
This book starts with an updated Chapter 1 covering
historic development of transit and its impacts. Chapter
2 presents classication and description of transit systemsthe family of transit modes, guiding the reader



to the grouping of modes into several categories which

are covered in later chapters.
Chapter 3 covers theory of traction and describes
particularly internal combustion engine and electric
traction. The latter has recorded revolutionary developments in recent decades (choppers and inverters,
then AC motors, both resulting in great increases in
energy efciency). Travel time computations and energy consumption are also covered.
Transit system performance and measures of its capacity, efciency, utilization, etc., are presented in
Chapter 4. Material covers considerable theoretical
analyses, as well as practical methods for performance
and efciency computations.
Chapters 5 through 9 describe different categories
of transit modes. Chapter 5 has extensive material on
bus systems, including bus rapid transit in a separate
section. Rail systems, including the four major modes,
are the subject of Chapter 6. This is the largest chapter
because of the technical complexity, diversity, as well
as increasing use of rail modes in many countries.
Chapters 5 and 6 discuss the recent introduction of
low-oor vehicles, which have signicantly increased
the convenience and efciency of bus, LRT, and RGR
services in pedestrian-oriented urban areas.
Unconventional modes, particularly automated
guided systems, are the subject of Chapter 7. Increasing use of these modes as people mover shuttles and
as regular transit lines are described. Chapter 8 covers
specialized modes, such as cog railways, funiculars,
and ferryboats, all of which have had increasing applications in many cities in recent years. A variety of
paratransit modes and their numerous applications in
industrialized and in developing countries are described in Chapter 9.
Finally, Chapter 10 presents a review and comparisons of different modes presented in the preceding ve
chapters. Some material from preceding chapters is
summarized to facilitate this review and comparisons

of modes in different categories: medium-capacity, automated, rail transit modes, and others. Common errors
and biased arguments frequently used in mode comparisons are also critically discussed.
Each chapter has a set of exercises and a list of
references. A list of most relevant references for the
entire book follows Chapter 10.
Like the preceding books of the Transit Trilogy,
this one is intended for use as a textbook, and as a
reference book for professionals such as transit operators, trafc engineers, consultants, and planners. It
therefore attempts to bridge the separations between
research, teaching, and applications in practice. The
international coverage and extensive references to leading transit systems in different countries is also followed again. Both of these featuresbridging theory
and practice and international orientationhave found
very positive responses with the users of previous
books. This was obvious from considerable acceptance
of these books in many countries, as well as its several
This book utilizes SI units in a few instances where
it was logical to add English traditional measures. A
very convenient set of tables for conversion of units
between the SI and English systems is presented as
Appendix I. Other appendices present a list of abbreviations (II), denitions of transit terms (III), and solutions to selected exercise problems (IV). Two
indexesgeneral and names of citiesare at the end
of the book.
With extensive development and diversity of urban
transit systems, it is increasingly difcult to cover the
broad eld of transit technology in one book. The author has tried to select the material that will be most
useful for increasing knowledge about transit and for
assisting in its planning, operations, and analysis in
cities with a variety of conditions. If that has been
achieved, the main goal of writing this Transit Trilogy will have been realized.

The author wants to express his gratitude to many personscolleagues and students at universities, transportation engineers and planners in transit agencies,
government organizations, and consulting rmswho
contributed information and materials, assisted in preparation, or reviewed manuscript for this book. Many
materials and contributions were produced over a period of several years, but the most intensive cooperation has been done under pressure, during the rather
short period of about one and a half years that it took
to write this book.
Manuscript for every chapter was reviewed by several persons. For this assistance, constructive criticism,
and provision of additional material I rst want to
thank Wolfgang S. Homburger, retired from the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California in Berkeley, who put many hours and very
concentrated effort into providing overall evaluation as
well as numerous detailed comments and additions to
the text. His reviews are particularly valuable because
he has superb editing skills, deep knowledge of the
material, and he obviously dedicates many hours to
reviews because he enjoys the subject and our discussions which have now lasted for over 40 years.
I want to point out that Wolfgang Homburger and
Hans Leopold, my colleague since our joint work in
Hamburg in the early 1960s, have actually reviewed
manuscripts for all four books I have published and
therefore share any credit that my Transit Trilogy
may obtain.
Other persons who reviewed and sent very useful
comments on manuscript chapters were Dr. Eric
Bruun, University of Pennsylvania; Dr. Jeffrey Casello,
University of Waterloo; Thor Haatveit, Department of

Transportation in Oslo, Norway; and Richard Stanger,

consultant in Los Angeles, California, who also provided extensive information from his work on planning
and operating rail transit systems in Atlanta and Los
Angeles, and a number of other cities.
Professors Shinya Kikuchi, Virginia Tech University and Antonio Musso, Universita di Roma provided
valuable experiences from their use of my rst book
in their teaching over the years.
I also want to recognize several persons who have
always readily provided me with information, data,
photographs, and other materials during the writing of
this book and other research I have performed. John
Schumann of LTK Engineering provided data on transit in different cities, particularly light rail transit
systems. William Vigrass supplied information and
numerous photographs, some of which are in this
book. Others who provided materials include Andrew
Bata, Harry Hondius, Srecko Kahvedzic, Tom Matoff,
Angel Molinero, Dr. Francesca Pagliara, Tom Parkinson, Takis Salpeas, and Gradimir Stefanovic.
Contributors of substantial materials used directly
for this book include several persons. Norman Vutz of
LTK Engineering Services structured and wrote major
parts of the section on electric propulsion. Nathan
Maak, as my student, prepared a paper which has been
used for the tables and diagrams on rail rolling stock.
Christopher Wallgren and Paul Christener provided
many technical materials and photographs.
Among transit agencies, I want to recognize cooperation of the American Public Transportation Association and its President William Millar, Bay Area
Rapid Transit, Municipal Railway in San Francisco,
New York City Transit, New Jersey Transit, Southxv



eastern Pennsylvania Public Transportation Authority,

and many others.
This and my other books could not have such international breadth without my frequent contacts with
numerous colleagues in many countries. Most valuable
cooperation I have enjoyed over several decades and
which have been directly useful for this book has been
with Dr. Gunter Girnau, honorary Director of Verband
Deutscher VerkehrsunternehmenVDV in Germany;
Dr. Adolf Muller-Hellmann, VDV present Director; Dr.
Wolfgang Meyer, honorary President of the International Union of Public TransportUITP; Manfred
Bonz and Peter Hofinger, Directors of the Stuttgarter
Strassenbahnen. Discussions, materials, publications,
and visits that we have exchanged have provided the
highest professional and intellectual experience with
respect to transit and urban transportation that I have
had in my career. Other similar contacts I have had
have been with colleagues in Japan, several other European and Latin American countries, South Africa,
Canada, and Australia.
My contacts with the International Union of Public
Transport (UITP), which started when I was student in
Belgrade in the late 1950s, have been a constant source
of ideas, information, and intellectual exchanges. Particular thanks go to its Secretary General Johannes Rat.

My team at the University of Pennsylvania, which

has worked intensively on this book, included James
Aslaksen, Huafang Cui, Christopher Puchalsky, and
Mario Semmler, as well as my former students Drs.
Eric Bruun and Jeffrey Casello. This group worked
numerous hours with great precision, interest, and dedication. Their assistance is reected in the quality of
materials and extensive information presented in this
I want to point out that my work with the publisher
was by no means routine. The team at John Wiley,
consisting of James Harper, Kerstin Nasdeo, Evan
Jones, and Elizabeth Cepeda, has been highly professional, pressing me to meet the deadlines in a polite
and supportive manner, with clear goal of producing a
high-quality book.
As with all my previous books, the support of my
family was crucial in this difcult multi-year task. In
addition to the gratitude to my wife Rada, reected in
the books dedication, our childrenMonika, Boris,
Lili, Victorand their families deserve sincere thanks
for their continuous understanding and support.
Vukan R. Vuchic
University of Pennsylvania